Monster Hunter: World First Impressions

We lined up at Capcom’s booth last weekend during ESGS (Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit) 2017 for a rare opportunity to test out the newest addition to the monster hunter franchise — Monster Hunter: World. Here are our thoughts about the game, so far.

Disclaimer: Images used are from the official trailer.

I started playing Monster Hunter when it was still on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) during the Monster Hunter Freedom 2 days, and the only reason I got a 3DS was when Capcom migrated the franchise to Nintendo. The era of Monster Hunter on the PSP was my most favorite as it was really just you and the monster going head to head. There were no fancy hunter arts and styles, no mounting mechanics, and no clear indication of limping– it was just a straight-up brawl with you relying on your wits and prowess. I am not saying that the new additions to the present sequels are not welcome it certainly does add more flare and options to fights and not to mention it made the job easier and the monsters harder, but you’ll certainly miss the challenge of the old days.

Now, the game is slightly going back to its roots as it removes hunter styles and goes back to straight up classic combat, with a few tweaks, of course. While this might take some getting used to for players that have embraced the different hunter styles and also for those who started playing during its addition, it will most certainly feel like home for veterans and returning players who skipped some of the series new iterations.

Getting a good feel for the game was definitely short as demo players were only given a limited time to test it out, but at least we got the chance to head off into a few of the maps and face off with some of the game’s iconic and new monsters. There were a few changes in movement, item usage, and map interaction as players can now slide through slopes, use items while moving, and even cancel the use of whetstones. These new movements and item usage were much-needed changes, especially the cancellation of whetstones as many hunters throughout the colorful history of the game have fallen prey to monsters while sharpening, I for one have been one of those victims.

Combat, as I’ve said earlier, is now back to the classics but with a few adjustments. Each weapon, while retaining some of their old moves, were given new mechanics and controls, which will require a bit of practice to get used to but still has that familiar learning curve. Camera lock-on also had some changes as you can now lock-on to the different parts of a monster, which is extremely helpful if you’re trying to break or cut off a part. However, while locked in, you’ll lose control over the free-cam controls which can confuse a player as instead of rotating the camera with the analog stick you’ll change the locked-on part. Suffice to say, the combat is still very much the same apart from the few improvements and changes.

One big change for the game, however, is that the map is now seamless as Capcom has removed the instanced areas. Hunters will no longer have to experience load times when following a monster or traveling. The map still has numbered places though, but these are now just visual breaks on the minimap. This is a breath of fresh air and certainly made the game more immersive, not to mention it removed that irritating experience of changing areas when fighting a monster because you happen to accidentally step on the entrance to the previous or next one. That’s not the only big change though, as apparently other monsters are also scattered all around the map and that at times these monsters even clash with the one you were tasked to hunt. We’ve experienced watching a fellow demo player fight an Anjanath while it’s brawling with another monster.

Monster Hunter: World is shaping up to be a true successor and sequel to the franchise. It’s very much the monster hunter we all loved and grew up with but with much-needed improvements and makeovers. Its new combat mechanics and map changes certainly gave the game a fresh new look, not to mention its graphics have improved since it’s now on more powerful hardware.

Overall, we are very excited about the game and we can’t wait for its release on the PS4 and Xbox One on January 26, 2018, and on the PC at a later date. Oh, don’t forget the game is slated to have a beta test next month. You can find out more details of that here. To quench your thirst, you can also watch our demo footage below.

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